Finished edited image using the free photo editing app, Pixlr Express
I like free stuff.
I’m not talking about free stuff with a coupon. That’s too much hassle.That’s what you call a chore. That’s using-your-finger-to-turn-on-the-TV kind of chore.
I’m talking about free as in a giveaway. Like that Christmas present you get from your mammy. Or a birthday gift you get from your boo.
FREE BABY!!!!!!!! YEAH!
This post is going to show how I use the FREE app, Pixlr to edit images for my blogs, as well as for other social media. There is an android mobile version as well as an iOS mobile version.
And both are free!
If you love adding enhancements to the images on your phone (or desktop) when you’re crunched for time or on the go, this formidable app is the one to use. I swear by it.
For this tutorial, I’m using the desktop/PC version. Both the mobile and desktop version are virtually similar so there won’t be too much of a learning gap if you switch between the two.
Let’s jump right into it! Here’s the steps-
Pixlr Express home screen
1. First, go to the Pixlr site on your pc/Mac. Here’s where to find it if you’re following along on your workstation – http://pixlr.com/express/
2. Open the file you want to edit.
♦ You can use the Browse button to open a file from your computer,
♦ The Open URL button to open from a web source, or
♦ The Webcam button to capture an image from your web camera.
♦ There is also a Collage button that I would suggest playing around with.
Pixlr’s 7 main editing modes
3. Understand the editing modes. Once you’ve opened your image you will see the interface shown above. On the top left there is a Save and Close button and on the top right are a Undo, Redo, Fullscreen button, as well as a Minimize/Maximize button, and Zoom slider.
Pixlr’s editing modes
At the bottom of the screen you will see 7 buttons (shown above). Since this is the meat of the issue, I’m going to provide a little more detail here. If you want to skip this portion, you can still come back and use it as a reference. I’ll be going over the Adjustment, Effect, Borders, and Type menus because I use them the most. This doesn’t mean the other menus don’t provide cool features (they totally do), it’s just I don’t use them as much as the others.
A. Adjustment Menu. The options I use the most on this menu are the Crop and Focal features. Again, explore the other options and you will probably discover your personal favorites as well.
♦ Crop – You can perform a “free crop” (X:Y) or use the defaults. There is a 1:1 (square) choice, which is good for Instagram pics and your Facebook profile pic. The remaining options are different size rectangles. You can also manually enter a width and height for something such as your Facebook cover photo. Simply punch in the dimensions used in the image below. For this project I didn’t crop at all.
Dimensions for Facebook profile and cover images.
Using the Focal feature in Pixlr Express
♦ Focal – This feature is REALLY neat because it allows you to focus on a certain point in your image and blur everything around it. There is a circular and linear option so your images can have a tunnel vision effect. You can also adjust the intensity of the blur so it looks anywhere from slightly out of focus to “ruined” by smudging. You can see that I chose the circular style. Dragging the outer (dashed) ring adjusts the blurred region, and adjusting the inner ring enlarges/reduces the area that is focused.
Using the Effect feature in Pixlr Express
B. Effect Menu. This menu allows you to apply a wide array of filters to your image. You will see that there are a series of options ranging from “Creative” to “Vintage”. Each of these sub menus has a series of filters below it so be sure to explore them all.
NOTE: Once you find a filter you like, select the heart icon at the far left to add it to your Favorites. This way you won’t have to dig through endless options to find that one favorite you were looking for. All you have to do is select the Favorites button and all your favorites will come up. If you want to remove an option as a favorite, simply click the heart again and it will be removed.
Using the Vintage menu under the Effect tab in Pixlr Express
My absolute favorite option to bug around with is the Vintage menu. You can see that I used the Favorites option above since all of the choices have a heart next to them. You can’t see it here, but in the picture at the beginning of this post, I applied a couple different filters from this menu. Don’t just experiment with one. Use 2, 3, or even four filters for different looks.
Using the Borders menu in Pixlr Express
C. Borders Menu. Next I’ll move onto my borders. Some of these have different filters, too – they don’t act strictly as “borders”. Again you can see I’m using my Favorites menu and applied the “Scrap” effect you see below. I also used the “Sand” filter applying it several times after I rotated it in various directions. It gives the edges a “dirty”/worn look. Again, experiment with the different borders. I’ve added some examples below.
Using the Text menu in Pixlr Express
D. Type Menu. Finally, let’s check out the Type menu. I don’t use this in my photos but wanted to show it to you because it’s pretty neat. You can use this menu to add text but one really neat way I’ve used it is to make a watermark. Especially useful if you don’t want someone to use your images.
Below, I’ve typed “watermark” in the text field and chosen my font (3Dumb). Then I resized it and adjusted the transparency using the “Color” option. Check out the second image to see what the options are.
How to make a watermark in Pixlr Express
4. Save the edited image. When all is said and done, you can save your image. But first, here’s some pointers I use-
Give your edited image a different name so the original is always preserved.
♦ File name. To preserve the original image, I always add a letter to the end of the file. That way if I don’t like the edits and needed to go back to the original image, it will still be accessible.
Always use the highest quality resolution (100) when you save your images.
♦ Quality. I always ensure the quality is at 100.
Here’s some other images I’ve edited in Pixlr-
Thank you so much for taking your time to read this post, my friend!
Have you experimented in Pixlr? Do you have a pointer for the rest of us? Or maybe you have a favorite app you use? Share with the group in the Comments section so we all can learn!